The impact of a champion

Shannon Quigley Runningbear

Shannon Quigley Runningbear at an event at UCSD in 2005

This Sunday the fourth annual Shannon Runningbear Beach Volleyball Tournament takes place in Long Beach. The tournament, organized and run by friends of the late educator, raises funds annually for a program at Long Beach City College that provides basic skills education and mentoring to at-risk students. Shannon created this program, named the STAR Program, and was a force of nature in ensuring its success and the success of its students.

Shannon was a close friend of mine through the years, dating all the way back to our time in college at UCSD together in the late 1980s, where she was an NCAA national champion athlete in both volleyball and track & field (a campaign honoring her is underway at UCSD to construct a new track & field scoreboard at the site of her greatest athletic achievements).

As this year’s beach volleyball tournament approaches, I went back to a piece I wrote immediately after her passing in 2009. Here it is… Continue reading

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Memories in A Baseball Card

It’s been almost five years since my childhood friend Keith passed away suddenly at age 40. Keith and I met in 7th grade when we started junior high together, and we became fast friends and pretty much inseparable all the way through high school.

We went our separate ways after that, as he headed off to Oklahoma Baptist University and I went down to UCSD, but we always stayed in touch, and I saw him several times over the years despite the fact that we never again lived in the same state.

Keith later married and had two children. He and his family were living in Tennessee when he passed. He had spent several years as a stay-at-home dad, working as a freelance editor and writer mainly with the Baptist church in town. Continue reading